[TW] Ritual of the Blood Eagle
#26
Varmod tilted his head slightly when Azariah spoke of her becoming a monster as a result of her gift. He found it to be an interesting remark, but kept his thoughts to himself as she held onto his arm to lead him back into town and towards the feasting hall. However, their trip proved to be more eventful than he had anticipated as he watched Azariah scold Tyr before quickly returning to his side. The boy's actions and the response he received from his people was less than honorable, but Varmod was not surprised. Facing death, outside of the battlefield, was something that should frighten any man. It wasn't ever fear that held a man back from joining Valhalla but how he chose to face it. 


When they reached the feasting hall Varmod stopped, gently pulling Azariah to a halt as well as he held her hand to his arm with his opposite hand. "Before the ritual begins I want to give you something." He told her in a serious tone and reached up in to his hair to pull the white feather from his locks. He held it carefully between two fingers and slowly turned the object before her. "This feather has been with me my entire life, and now I give it to you. I was told by.. an oracle to give it to the woman I married." He seemed almost reluctant to part with it as he looked towards the pristine feather. It was nearly as long as her forearm, four fingers wide, and as white as freshly fallen snow. "Keep it close and maybe it'll protect you as it has done for me." A smile pulled at the corners of his lips as he held it out to her. 

His smile faded when he heard the voice of another coming from around the corner and immediately straightened his posture as he looked to meet their gaze as they entered the main hall. It was a maiden accompanying the oracle. She was asking questions about how to properly prepare the participants for the ritual and their conversation paused when she saw Varmod looking at her. "Oracle." Varmod stated as he shifted his gaze to the man. 

"Ah, Varmod. So glad you have returned. Preparations are needing to be made and I thought I was going to have to send your own men out looking for you." The old man chuckled and placed a finger next to his nose in a knowing manner. "Consummation is for after the rest have fallen asleep you know." 

Varmod scoffed then chuckled slightly at the crude humor. It was good to know someone could still be lighthearted in the face of the upcoming ritual. "Of course." Was all he said in response instead of denying the humorous accusation of why the pair of them had disappeared for a while. 

The Oracle waved the woman away. "If you would please follow her, she will help you prepare for the ritual. She knows the proper markings and idols for you to wear." He told Varmod to which the man nodded and released Azariah's arm to follow after the maiden.

Once alone the Oracle smiled at Azariah. "Are you prepared for this evening? I know everyone is looking forward to the momentous occasion." He said and took a step forward. "Odin sure has a way to keep everyone on their toes, hmm?"
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#27
Azariah pulled her brows together slightly when Varmond stopped her in the hall. She looked up to him when he spoke of something he had to give her. Her eyes watched as he pulled the beautiful feather from his hair, it had been with him his entire life yet it appeared to be flawless. Not a speck of blood, nor dirt had befallen the pristine feather. The princess gingerly took the feather, her lips parted to speak just as the Oracle approached. She let out a breath and pressed her lips together when the Oracle mentioned the consummation, her eyes may have rolled slightly, though a chuckle came over her own lips as she looked to Varmond as he left her side. She looked to the Oracle with a grin upon her lips to his statement. “Odin always works in mysterious ways, does he not?” She questioned as she twirled the feather about in her fingertips. “I do hope Tyr is welcomed into Valhalla, though...his actions will lead him astray….why has he been chosen for this ritual Oracle?”

The man grinned as he stared forward with his dull eyes. He reached forward and cupped Azariah’s cheek. “Dear princess, are you still in love with the boy?” He questioned. “You’ve a husband now, and Tyr has signed his soul away to the ritual.” The Oracle tilted his head slightly to the silence that followed after his words. “Tyr approached me, if you’d like to know. He came to me and begged for forgiveness and begged to be the sacrifice to atone for his loss in the gauntlet.” The man lowered his hand from Azariah’s cheek and rubbed a bit of dampness between his fingertips, a tear had fallen from her eye. “Embrace what Odin has given you, princess. Now do get ready for the ritual, hm?” The Oracle walked away from her then.

Azariah took in a shaken breath, she looked to the feather within her fingertips a long moment before she turned and walked down the hall. The heels of her boots clicked against the wooden floors. “Ahh there you are dear sister.” Otta spoke his arm wrapped around her shoulders. “Are you enjoying your husband yet?” He snickered as he leaned against her, he was clearly drunk on mead.

“Otta.” Azariah wrangled with his grip. “He is my husband, I will not question Odin’s choices.” She pushed against his arm that held her close.

“He’s a savage sister.” Otta whispered into her ear. “You can see the fear in everyone’s eyes. Where is your fear? Hm?” He giggled slightly. “Are you afraid Azariah? Is that why you ran off and disappeared for the better part of the day?”

Azariah slipped from his grasp and shoved him back, his back slammed against the wall and she held her forearm tight against his throat. “Otta...” She spoke through grit teeth. “Enough.” She slammed him again before she walked down the hall to be greeted by maidens within her bedchamber.

The princess held the feather up her eyes looked to one of the maidens. “I want this in my hair, could you do that?” She asked her voice calm as she turned and looked to herself in the mirror. She looked to the beautiful wedding dress a long moment before she closed her eyes.

**

The sun began to set over the deep blue water, the crashing waves lulled those with any sense of exhaustion to sleep. The warmth of the day was beginning to dissipate as Skadi took hold of Whitlock once more. A gentle breeze kicked in causing the flames of torches to swirl about. Drums beat and cheers rose over the city as the ritual began. The princess had the feather beautifully woven into her hair, and a thick black wolf’s pelt over her shoulders to keep her warm. Azariah walked forward to stand upon the raised stage that held a space for Tyr’s wrists to be held while the ritual was performed. She stared to the logs so carefully cut a long moment before her eyes fell upon her father. Thunder rumbled in the distance as lightening scattered across the skies. Thor was at play. Every god was watching them.

“Do not back down from this, child.” Odin’s voice spoke into Azariah’s ear.

She turned her head only to find empty space next to her, a raven sat upon the rooftop of a nearby home. She could feel her heart race within her chest as she looked back forward. Tyr was marched forward by two of the warriors of Whitlock dressed in their battle armor. Tyr had paint across his bare chest in beautiful runes. He only wore a simple pair of cotton shorts as he was pushed to his knees before the people. Azariah took in a breath as she moved before him. He was trembling, fearful for what was to come. She gently lifted his wrists and tied them into the stocks that held his hands above his head. “Be brave, Tyr.” She grasped his head in both hands before she pressed her lips to his forehead. It was customary for her to give good graces to the sacrifice. “May Odin welcome you into Valhalla.” She gazed into his eyes a long moment before she stood and stepped around to her father. Now they would await Varmond and the ritual would truly begin...
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#28
Most rituals in their culture the participants wore elaborate head dresses, feathers, furs and were painted brightly. This ritual was about death, however, and so Varmod was dressed in order to honor Hela. His skin was painted white while he wore armor made of blackened bones. His face was also painted white, but around his eyes was painted black which made his blue orbs seem to almost glow. His hair had been tied back and dusted in a red powder. Across his bare chest and back there were red runes, prayers for the soul that was to be sacrificed, and all that covered his waist was a leather loin cloth to keep him mostly decent through the ritual. As he walked down the path cleared for him towards Tyr he carried the tools he would use to complete the ritual. A knife, sharpened enough to split a hair, and a horn in which to collect some of Tyr's blood for Hela's alter once it had concluded. 

As he approached the platform where Tyr had been placed upon his knees people shied away from the man as he looked even more savage than normal. His hulking form seemed perfectly fitted to be the executioner. His eyes looked forward but only focused once he was able to see Azariah standing on the other side of Tyr. His jaw tightened and he gave her a slight nod as he remembered his promise before looking down to his victim. 

The drums stopped beating when he reached his position and he turned to face the crowd that had gathered to witness the deed. He could see fearful looks staring up at him, though a large portion of the people that looked up at him did so through drunk eyes that had been enjoying the barrels mead placed throughout the town for their enjoyment. "Today.." Varmod's voice rang out over the crowd bringing any whispers or chatter to silence. "we offer the gods a sacrifice. A man, of his own choosing, has volunteered his life so that we may be graced with the blessings of the gods. Odin.." He looked back towards Azariah "has already granted our people with a great gift. Hopefully Hera and the others will also smile upon us as well." He turned towards Tyr and looked down at the man as he hung his head, still drunk from his time in the pub. "Tyr, Son of Uldin, you have bravely offered up your body and soul for judgment. May the gods bring to you Odin's table and may he grace you with an endless bounty."

The air seemed to stand still for a moment as he paused before he knelt down next to Tyr and placed the knife against his spine and began to cut into his soft flesh. Tyr inhaled sharply at the pain but bit back and cries that might had come from the deep cut. When Varmod had conducted the ritual in the past it had been on a murder that was sentenced to be the one to offer up his life. With how Varmod had positioned himself between Tyr and crowd it was hard to see what he did in the beginning. He took this opportunity to dip his knife between Tyr's ribs as he got a few inches down his back and slipped the blade of the knife into his heart before continuing to work down his back. 

To the crowd Tyr handled the trial exceptionally well, and none of them even realized he had passed into the next life within a few seconds of the ritual. His head hung limp and his body was still as Varmod stood up to break Tyr's ribs to form the wings of the ritual. He had kept his promise to Azariah, even if it angered the gods, but he did send a prayer that they would accept the boy regardless.
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#29
The moments preceding were nearly silent for Azariah, she could hear her pulse in her ears, each breath seemed to echo. She stared to Varmond as he took the stage, his words were loud, almost piercing to her as she stood at his side. The silence that followed as he turned to Tyr was excruciating. Azariah watched as the blade sliced easily into Tyr’s exposed flesh. She was the only one close enough to see the calculated cut that Varmond made, to see the small puncture into Tyr’s heart. Her eyes welled with tears as she fought back the urge to cry, it stung, worse than that of a hornet’s sting. She found she was holding her breath at one point. The scene that unwrapped before her eyes was grotesque. In the past she cheered on the Blood Eagle Ritual. This time, was different. She watched as blood dripped onto the wooden boards, as Tyr’s head hung forward limply, the only thing holding him up were his wrists. His skin became pale...and soon enough it was over.

A roar of thunder clapped over the city and a gust of wind blew through once the ritual had been completed. Azariah’s hands tingled as she stared to the body. A shiver ran down her spine. “Yes, that’s it.” Odin’s voice chuckled. “The gods will play tonight. I will welcome the boy into Valhalla, dear Azariah.” He grasped her shoulders as he stood before her. “Tonight you shall receive your gift my dear.” He grinned, his eye glowed brightly as he held onto her more tightly. Azariah sucked in a deep breath, her knees became weak. She choked slightly as she leaned forward into his grip. A wave of power flushed through Azariah, something she could not deny, the feeling was unlike anything else she’d ever felt. She let out a whimper as it overwhelmed her.

“Azariah?” The king’s voice sounded distant and far away.

“Az?” The queen’s voice. “Get the Oracle!” Her mother cried.

Azariah fell to her knees, her breaths shook, blood leaked from her nose, her eyes had rolled into the back of her head. Her muscles quivered before she fell limply forward. The king caught her quickly. “Varmond.” He huffed as he heaved her tense body from the ground. “Come.” He shoved Azariah into Varmond’s arms. “It has begun.” He spoke as he quickly rushed from the stage. Another blast of wind ripped through the city and with it a chilling cold set over Whitlock. “Skadi is releasing her wrath upon Whitlock, the gods are at play. Drink and be merry, but be wary of the gods.” The king called out as he rushed through the crowd.

The queen followed quickly in tow. “Is she breathing?” She asked quickly, her eyes filled with worry. “Please tell me she’s breathing...Az...” Her voice trembled.

The king rushed to the Oracle’s hut where he grasped Azariah from Varmond’s arms. “Oracle.” He set her down before the blind man. A chuckle came from the Oracle as he waved his hands over her body. “Tell me what has happened. You didn’t speak of this.” The king growled.

“My king, there is no need for worry.” The oracle spoke as he touched the feather within the princess’ hair. “She is protected by her dear husband.” He chuckled again, his yellowed teeth showing. “Her body reacts to the gods, such power.” He hummed. “I can feel it.” He placed his hand on her forehead and inhaled deeply. “You’ve no idea the power that she holds. It is more than the gods spoke to me of...”

“What do we do?” The queen questioned as she brushed the fresh blood from her daughter’s face.

“She will wake.” He smiled. “There is a storm brewing, you’d best get to the great hall. Skadi is ensuring tradition is upheld. Hm?” He glanced toward Varmond. “The preceding days are to be spent with her husband aren’t they? She will be fine. He has protected her.” He reached behind him and pulled a small vial. “For strength.” He spoke as he held it forward, the liquid inside of it was a crimson red. “Odin’s blood.” He smiled then and a chuckle came over his lips.

The king took it and nodded to Varmond. “You heard the Oracle.” He spoke. “Let’s get her home.” The king led them from the Oracle’s hut and back to the great hall where a meal had been prepared with ale and fruits. It had been placed upon platters and placed in the newly weds room, as was tradition. The king handed the vial to the queen and nodded as she stepped forward.

The queen carefully tipped the vial of liquid against her daughter’s lips. Azariah choked slightly and a bit of the fluid ran down the side of her mouth, but most of it was swallowed. “If anything happens, Varmond.” She placed her hand on his forearm, her eyes gazed up into his. “Anything. You call upon Stav and I. She’s my only daughter.” She spoke before she walked from the room with the king leaving Varmond and Azariah alone.

It was around an hour before Azariah began to stir. Her brows quivered slightly and her muscles jerked. Then suddenly Azariah sucked in a gasping breath, her eyes shot open and she sat up in a quick motion. Her beautiful eyes glowed a brilliant white as she took in quick breaths. Something strange happened in that moment, the howling of the wind ceased outside. The flakes of snow that had been falling hung in the air as if time had stopped. Azariah moved quickly, a glass upon the bedside table toppled forward. The liquid inside rushed upward and as she reached toward the glass it froze in the air. She stared at it as it was suspended carefully. Her eyes lifted to the fireplace that was frozen in time as well. “V...Varmond?” She choked out and just as quickly as everything else had ceased the water from the horn splashed against the floor and the crackle of the fireplace came back to life. Thunder rumbled outside. Azariah took in quick breaths as she lifted her eyes to look at her husband, fear in her expression. “What...happened?” She questioned softly as she looked around the room. The last thing she remembered was staring to Tyr’s body and the pool of blood upon the platform...
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#30
After completing the ritual Varmod collected Tyr's blood in the horn and as soon as he looked back up to Azariah he knew something was very wrong. Her gaze seemed to peer into another world and he couldn't see the rise and fall of her chest in steady breath. He saw her falter and start to fall forward but he could not catch her with the instruments of the ritual in his hands and covered in blood. Luckily her father was quick on his feet and was able to stop her before she landed flat on the blood soaked planks. Varmod quickly dropped the tools and when Azariah was thrust into his arms he cradled her against his chest as his arms easily lifted her light form.

Even as the wind blew Varmod didn't flinch from the cold and simply focused on the task of carrying her to the oracle and setting her down for the elderly man to inspect. As the man spoke, trying to reassure her parents, Varmod looked to the feather as the Oracle spoke of him protecting her. His jaw tightened once more and he scooped her back up into his arms as they were dismissed with the vial containing the god's blood. He did his best to seem confident as they situated Azariah in their bed and the Queen insisted upon being informed if things were to take a turn for the worst. He nodded and agreed, of course, but only relaxed once they were left alone.

While Azariah slept Varmod cleaned himself of blood and ceremonial paint. He also dressed in warmer furs and clothes to keep Skadi at bay. By the time the Princess had managed to suddenly wake from her sleep Varmod was sitting in a chair in front of the hearth watching the flames dance as a breeze funneled its way down the chimney. He was leaning over and fiddled with the hair upon his chin and he tensed slightly as if she had caught him off guard. "You collapsed." He told her and glanced over to see the spilled cup with the water shining upon the floor in the firelight. "We took you to the oracle and he said that you would be alright." He spoke flatly at first but cleared his throat and sat back in his chair as he took a deep breath and turned to fully face his new bride. "How do you feel?" He asked with a touch of what might be perceived as concern in his voice. "Seems my feather did the trick, eh? You're still in one piece and only slept for a full week." 

He let his words hang in the air for a moment to let their implication sink in a bit before a smile split his stoic features and he gave a chuckle. "I jest. You have been asleep only a short while." He told her in an effort to lighten the mood. Even if she threw something at his head for the joke it would help get her mind off the events that had just transpired.
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#31
Azariah watched Varmond, her eyes followed his to the spilled cup upon the floor. Had she imagined it hanging in the air? Suspended in time. She glanced out the window to the cold that Skadi had brought to Whitlock, the thick fluffy flakes of snow that fell idly. Perhaps it was her imagination. “A...A week?” Her voice faltered, her eyes darted back to him, she took in a few quick breaths as her expression filled with confusion. Though at the curve of his lips her expression flattened. His chuckle only brought her brows together tightly as she glared to him with her silvery eyes. “A trick?” She questioned before she scoffed. “I collapse and you think to play a trick on me?” She stepped forward quickly. She stood before him now, her arms crossed over her chest. It was silent between them as she let out a heavy breath. She turned to the fireplace. Her gaze focused upon it. Her expression softened as she stepped toward it. “Varmond.” She spoke then her voice as soft as can be, before it had been filled with anger toward her husband.

“Do you truly believe that Odin has gifted me?” She asked, though she still gazed into the flames. Just moments ago the flames had been as still as a painting upon the wall. Yet the orange and yellows flickered about happily, emitting warmth that hugged around Azariah’s body. She shivered slightly as she closed her eyes.

“Does it really matter what anyone believes, Azariah?” Odin’s voice spoke then, a chuckle came over his lips. “I’ve given you one of the most powerful gifts, even Thor is jealous of it.” Azariah turned her head, her breath caught in her chest again, just as it had upon the stage, she stared into the empty space next to her, though her eyes were trained in on the God that only she could see. He grinned to her and glanced to the fire. “Go on Azariah, show this man what you can do.” He grasped onto her arm and held her hand forward slightly. Azariah fought against it at first but then she allowed her hand to be pushed forward. “Focus on what you want the flames of the fire to do.” Odin spoke. Azariah shook her head slightly, but then her eyes began to glow, her breathing quickened. “Good.” Odin spoke before he vanished.

Azariah stood with her hand extended forward, the flames within the fire were once again frozen in place. Her glowing white eyes stayed focused forward, her body shuddered slightly. After a few moments she lowered her hand and the calming crackles of the fireplace resumed. Azariah took a step back as the light began to fade from her eyes. She couldn’t pull her eyes away from the fire now. Upon her arm where Odin had gripped her a black rune had scribed into her arm, her skin was raised slightly as if it was a fresh tattoo. The rune was of a raven, Odin’s symbol. It was beautiful art, intricate in each and every line, every detail of the fathers down to the beak. “Time...” She breathed. “Why….time...” Her voice was fearful. With the control of time came great power...but great power came with great responsibility...
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#32
Varmod continued to smile as he saw the anger cross her features and even continued to sit calmly as his eyes never lefts hers even as she approached. "Seems you are well enough to get out of bed just fine." He commented before she went quite and began to stare in to the flames. "Hmm? And why would you doubt that you've been given a gift?" Suddenly the air in the room shifted and Varmod leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest as he listened to the silence of the room. It wasn't until she began to reach towards the fire in the hearth that he tensed as if he were going to stop her. 

When the flames before them stopped their dance, as if Skadi had frozen them in place with her chilling cold breeze, he couldn't help but stare at the marvel of it for a long moment. When he heard her utter something with fear in her voice he rose from his seat and gently wrapped his arms around her and brought her into an embrace where his cloak nearly covered her completely from sight. "Time is a wise man's gift. The foolish squander it and the greedy would steal it away from others. Odin must think highly of you to grant you such a gift." Varmod's voice was low as if he wanted only Azariah to hear his words and feared others might be listening just outside their chambers. 

He rubbed his hands on her back gently as if he were trying to help keep her warm then squeezed her tightly. "I wouldn't worry to much. Plus there's not much to be done. We're pretty much trapped in doors till Skadi is done playing with her ice storm." He guided her back to a seat and sat her down at their shared table. "Get something to eat. It's been a long while since you've had a meal. This morning I believe. So you must be hungry." He sat across from her and gathered her a plate and set it before her. Normally it would be her job to serve him but he seemed not to mind the backwards role. "A little mead will help steel your nerves as well." He stated as he poured her a glass and held it out to her.
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#33
The princess took in a breath as she felt his arms embrace around her. She closed her eyes as the warmth cascaded over her body. For a moment the man before her was nothing more than the man that was to be her husband, her protector. For a moment she forgot about all of the savage accusations and all of the wary eyes of the people of Whitlock. Of her own fears of him. She looked to him then her eyes searched his, “A wise man’s gift.” She repeated and gave a nod. “Hm.” She took her seat and she gazed to the food before her. He was right, it had been some time since she’d eaten. Yet, the pangs of hunger did not gnaw at her. She bit her lip slightly in thought before she glanced to the cold storm outside once again. “It seems we will be stored away inside.” She let out a laugh. “What a trick Skadi plays, hm? Truly she must have approved of our union, to offer us such a warm day for the ceremony, followed by such a treacherous night that locks us inside.” She lifted the mead to her lips and took a long drink from it.

Her silvery eyes gazed back to the flickering flames of the fire again. After a few more sips she grasped a piece of bread and tore a piece off, eating it piece by piece. The gears within her mind seemed to be churning, her look full of contemplation. She raised a brow slightly and her lips parted to speak but she only shook her head as she drew her eyes back to Varmond. “It is I who should have been serving you food upon our wedding night.” She spoke with a chuckle to her voice. “Though, the sense of concern...” She tilted her head slightly as she looked to him. “Perhaps you are not as much of a beast beneath those pelts? Hm? Not as much of a savage as you’d like everyone to believe.” She prodded at him slightly her eyes locked on his. “Odin doesn’t seem to disapprove of you at least.” She took a bite of jerky before she sipped more of her mead. She let out a sigh as she looked to the bottom of her cup. Azariah reached forward and she poured more for herself, with each sip her muscles loosened. The looming feeling of her powers seemed to seat within the back of her mind for now. Her troubles seemed to melt away in that moment.

“So tell me, Varmond.” She looked to him almost quizzically, “What is it then? Are you a kinder man than you appear?” She leaned forward slightly. “Or is it simply because of our union that you show concern?” She raised a brow then. “Also...this feather...” She ran her fingertips along it, “You said it had been with you a long time? That it protects you...” She watched him carefully. “How?” She asked. “Do the gods will the protection? Are you protected by the gods?” Her cheeks had turned a rosy flush from the mead as she took another swig. “Odin told me Thor is jealous.” She giggled then, her voice hushed. “He’s jealous of the power that Odin gave to me.” There was a clap of thunder outside then. Azariah grinned, “Ah, see?” She stood and stepped to the window. The princess gazed out to the storm, wind whipped against the home, howling slightly. She smiled as another rumble of thunder sounded. “Perhaps one day I will meet Thor, as I have met Odin.” She returned to the table and downed the last of her second drink. She chuckled slightly before she popped a piece of bread into her mouth, her eyes moved to Varmond, her brow cocked once again.
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#34
Luckily Azariah did begin to eat after Varmod has served her but when she began to question his character he could only smirk slightly at her curiosity. Besides them being bound together for life they knew almost nothing of each other so he supposed it was only nature to wonder just what kind of man she had been married to. "Interesting that you think I cannot be both." He finally commented after washing down his food with some mead. "Like all Vikings I protect which I care about or see fit to be protected. I fight with everything I have and that earns me the title of the savage barbarian."

He paused as he considered the feather he had given her and let silence fall between them as he ate another bite of roasted meat. "I can show you where that feather came from." He finally said. "Though we'll wait till Skadi is done playing. I did not lie when I said I've had it my entire life. When I was found on the edge of the village, abandoned, my only possession was that feather." He hadn't really answered either of her questions but he hoped his responses would tide her over till they could leave their home and the winds were not quite as sharp with their bite. 

"What of you Princess?" He asked. "I've heard of your skills as a shield maiden as well as tales of your spirit. You are much more reserved than I had anticipate." He watched her with a nearly playful gleam in his eye.
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#35
Azariah watched him with curious eyes. His answer was not untrue. One could be both. Though the men of Whitlock did not take on such an appearance of a savage warrior. The stories from the north were gruesome. But, with those stories were stories of triumph, never of loss. It wasn’t honor that Azariah found the man before her to lack, he seemed to have plenty of that. She smirked slightly when he spoke that he fought with all his might, indeed he did and it had ruled him the victor of the gauntlet. Though was a warrior all that she needed at her side? Before she could question more he began to speak of the feather. “It will be quite some time before Skadi allows us to make such a trek.” She spoke as she glanced to the window as the winds howled, snow was accumulating on the windowsill, frost had crawled across the glass.

The princess looked back to the man before her once more as he began to question her. His playful smile was met by one of Azariah’s. A chuckle escaped over her lips as she watched him, “Oh, the stories of me do not pan out? Is that it?” She poured a third glass from the pitcher and she popped a pice of jerky into her mouth. The smile remained on her lips as she watched him. “Couldn’t I say the same of you?” She grinned a bit wider then, almost seeming to challenge him. Azariah took a sip of her mead as she leaned back in her chair her eyes watched him closely. “I am the lead shield maiden for Whitlock.” She didn’t pull her silvery eyes from him as she stood. She watched him with focus in her eyes. “I’ve taken down men larger than you, Varmond.” She smiled as she watched him, the curve in her lips was playful. Suddenly she moved forward, her leg wrapped behind his and she kicked out as she shoved him back. The chair clattered to the ground and Azariah landed with her forearm against his neck. “Does this suit the stories of me, dear husband?” She moved her hands to either side of his head as she looked down to him with a smile. “Or do you wish to challenge me?” She questioned with a playful laugh. “It could be fun.” She grinned then. Her movements had been fluid, strong, precise even with the amount of mead in her system. She may have been small in size, but she knew how to work the angles to her advantage, this is what gave her such stories that surrounded her. Certainly the people of Whitlock believed Odin’s gift would be of something concerning warfare.
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